This past Friday evening (or very early Saturday morning) I went to a castle. Yes, I said a castle. It was more of an exterior appearance of a castle with grass and open air within the walls.

It was out in the middle of nowhere with a lot of gravel roads leading to it that threatened the air pressure of of Madalyne’s small SUV. Primarily this “castle” is used for paint-balling and camping. For this weekend however it took on another role as music festival venue.

Madalyne and I chose to do our multimedia piece on a group of go-go dancers called the Comeow Kittens. They are giving workshops and performing at this weekend long festival, sporting light up hoops, furry boots, and confidence.

We arrived a few minutes before midnight, a little miffed the festival denied us press passes and made us pay $20 each to get in. But we set up our cameras with a positive spirit. Madalyne had only just borrowed a camera from someone else on our beat and we could not figure out how to use the video setting. I’m a Canon girl and have very limited knowledge of Nikons, so I showed Madalyne how to use the video setting on my Canon.

I knew enough about Nikons to operate it on still photography settings, so I used the borrowed camera for stills.

I know Rita Reed would tell me that this situation was perfect for using flash. It was incredibly dark. The colorful rave lights only made everyone a silhouette, which gets boring if that’s all you have frame after frame. But since Madalyne was using my camera I just used the on-camera flash on the Nikon. My batteries for my portable flash were all run down anyways (stupid rechargables). The photos are not the best I’ve ever done with flash, but I think they still tell the story well.

I took a couple natural light only shots (or not so natural since they were rave lights.) But then I decided to pop flash in there. I slowed down the shutter speed so that the light up hoops would make dancing waves of color from their movement. The pop of flash stopped whoever was dancing so that their image was clear. I think I did pretty well given the circumstances. Thank heavens I took Advanced Techniques with Rita Reed before doing this assignment.

Madalyne was also appreciative of my flashes for the video so that every now and then the viewer can see the face of who’s dancing.

We had been yawning all the way up to Kingdom City, but when I was taking photos I was very awake, present. Something about focusing on a shot makes the sleepiness abandon me. However, as soon as I knew we were done shooting the fatigue returned. By that time it was 1:00 AM, and we still had to go back to Columbia.

So we gathered ourselves up against the chilly night air and walked away from the dub-step/reggae combo, only stopped a couple times by dazed festival goers.

Journalism is no 9-5. Sometimes I enjoy that, and sometimes I just want to curl up in the fetal position and beg to be home for dinner. I like dinner.


And So My Watch Ends

Yeah, I am leaving off with a Game of Thrones reference. However if I were truly in the Night’s Watch this would mean that I’m either dead or a deserter. I promise you I’m neither. I was only contracted to be at Missouri Life for the summer, and Winter is Coming.

Ohhhkayyy. You’ve witnessed my obsession too plainly. So let me continue by generically saying I’ve learned a lot this summer. About photojournalism, writing, regular office hours, how to bring lunch to work, and even editing. And all of it just reassured me that this is the path I want to take. I like being whisked around to different assignments, using my judgment to select photos worthy of my editors’ perusal, and I really enjoy getting to see places I’d never even imagine going to on my own.

The traveling I did for Missouri Life reaffirmed what I’ve thought about journalism for quite some time: it’s for those of us who didn’t get to experience it firsthand. I don’t describe the juiciness of a burger or capture a smile for my own benefit (although it is fun), it’s all for the reader who relies on my image and my words alone to share the experience. And who knows? Maybe it’ll encourage one of you to go try the new Mexican place, or take a day trip to Glasgow. Essentially, journalists are here to serve. Whether it be the hard hitting news you need right away for safety or general knowledge of your community, or the fluffier stories that just give you some hope for humanity. Each has its purpose and that gives me, the journalist, purpose. Thanks for liking knowledge and new stimuli viewers! Without you I would be even more desolate and penniless.

Here are some photos from my most recent excursion to the southwest part of this grand state.

The last courthouse in my Unique County Courthouses story: Jasper County in Carthage, MO.

The last courthouse in my Unique County Courthouses story: Jasper County in Carthage, MO.

Nathan Boone Homestead, outside of Springfield, MO.

Nathan Boone Homestead, outside of Springfield, MO.

Mo' Beef in Springfield, MO specializes in Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches, but I had to try the chicken parmigiana sandwich. Om nom.

Mo’ Beef in Springfield, MO specializes in Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches, but I had to try the chicken parmigiana sandwich. Om nom.

You can’t tell me none of those places look intriguing. I’m a foodie and succumb easily to my vice, food porn, so just looking at that sandwich turns my stomach on full beast mode. It’s embarrassing; people can hear me.

What could also be construed as embarrassing is that I took my mumsy with me on this voyage. She’s close to retirement, and likes to ask off work, and I sure wasn’t going to drive 8 hours all by my lonesome. She’s also very reasonable, a logical Spock-like creature if you will, and she decided we needed to stay overnight and drive back the next day. Praise mumsy for that insight, considering how tired I was by the end of day one. It’s always good to have a road companion, they can help you with directions, argue you with you about where to eat, stop at ridiculous antique malls that require two people to go in and joke about everything they see, and they’re someone to share the fond memories with down the line.

So I encourage everyone to pick a magazine or newspaper, and read about what’s going on around you. It doesn’t have to be in your hometown, state, or even country. (I prefer space travel.) It’s just important to see the options available to you. Looking at a computer screen thinking about how bored you are isn’t hip anymore. There really is no excuse not to experience your community. And community is in varying degrees of distance, depending on your comfort zone, but test that zone every now and then. I’m happily surprised every time I do. And if you need a little guidance, just look to the articles, they usually point you in the right direction.

Blog at